Home / FT Lite/ A landmark conviction

A landmark conviction


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Saturday, 7 July 2018 02:35


Archbishop Wilson leaving the courthouse

 

The news of the week revolved round an Australian Archbishop being convicted for concealing child sex abuse in the church. It was reported that he is the most senior Catholic cleric to be found guilty for such an offence.

Amidst countrywide pressure that he should resign, the Archbishop of Adelaide, Philip Wilson has refused to resign because he is appealing against the verdict. He has said that he would resign if he is unsuccessful in the appeal.

The Archbishop who has stepped aside of his duties said, “I do not intend to resign at this time. However, if I am unsuccessful in my appeal, I will immediately offer my resignation to the Holy See.”

“I am surprised that he has not resigned,” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had told reporters after the sentence was announced. “Clearly, given the outcome of the case, the lawsuit and prosecution, he should resign.”

Though he was sentenced to a 12-months prison sentence, the Archbishop in his mid-60s was given six month’s home detention followed by six months parole, due to his ailing health and age.

Archbishop Wilson was found guilty of not disclosing to police abuse by another priest, James Fletcher, after being told about it in 1976 by two victims, one of them an altar boy. Fletcher was found guilty in 2004 of nine counts of child sexual abuse and died in jail in 2006 after a stroke.

Making his ruling in a packed courthouse the Newcastle (NSW) Magistrate Robert Stone told the accused the reason for his sentence was due to the “the criminality of the concealment” and recognising the “harm done to the community.” The magistrate noted during his decision that there was now “so much public outcry” regarding child abuse cover up in the Catholic Church and other religious groups.

“Therefore I consider it a matter that should be regarded as serious,” the magistrate said. “By concealing abuse it is demonstrating you are placing the needs of the perpetrator above the child.”

Archbishop Wilson did not say anything on leaving court, ignoring repeated questions from the media about whether he would resign or apologise to the victims. Media reported that the ruling against Archbishop Wilson was a landmark conviction that could have far-reaching implications for other clergy members as the child sexual abuse scandal continues to hit the Catholic Church globally.


Share This Article


DISCLAIMER:

1. All comments will be moderated by the Daily FT Web Editor.

2. Comments that are abusive, obscene, incendiary, defamatory or irrelevant will not be published.

3. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.

4. Kindly use a genuine email ID and provide your name.

5. Spamming the comments section under different user names may result in being blacklisted.

COMMENTS

Today's Columnists

Automation and machine learning: Helping organisations extract deeper value from data

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The world is in the midst of a data explosion. Humans are generating an estimated 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every single day1, according to Forbes, and more data was created in the past two years than in all of human history. No wonder data now r


SL tourism: From TOM to experience the brand in 2019

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Last week I had just crossed the border that separates Laos from Thailand and was on route via land to Thailand. My mind was on Laos – a country branded globally as ‘Simply Beautiful’ (backed by the ADB in 2018) to attract visitors into the cou


Questionable (or absurd) official report on poverty indicators

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The latest Report issued by the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs on ‘Poverty Indicators’ is both questionable and outrageous.1This Ministry is under the responsibility of the Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe. Most of the sta


Teaching the younger generation to observe professional ethics is the need of the hour

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

When Sri Lanka got independence in 1948, it was one of the most promising nations both in Asia and in the Commonwealth countries. It had luckily emerged unscathed after the Second World War unlike our neighbours. Sri Lanka furthermore did not have to


Columnists More